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  1. #1
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker review

    I like hunting boots on the lighter end of the scale. As I don't carry a lot of heavy packs, I can take a lighter boot.

    I'd arranged with Kenetrek to test their Bridger Ridge Hiker, but with my 4E platypus feet, we couldn't get even a 10 1/2 to fit me. Super nice hiker and perfect for archery hunting but just won't fit me. If you're a stalker, and have a more normal size foot than me, give that hiker a look.

    Wyatt at Kenetrek then sent me the Hardscrabble's because they come in a wide.

    They're lightweight uninsulated, good looking boot. When I first put them on they scared me a little bit they were a stiff as a cinderblock. I put about four hours on them around the house and my feet got used to them quickly and they softened up quite a bit.
    They are a seven-inch boot, but have more than enough ankle support for me. Best of all they had plenty a room in the forefoot for my wide feet. I knew they were going to work, so I took them scouting with me this weekend and wore on some short hikes. After a day or so they're breaking in nicely so I backpacked in about a mile and a half in, and a thousand foot climb with a 40 pound back for the night. I'm posting from the mountain right now. They worked my heels a little bit but considering I only have about seven hours in them, that's not too bad. They have a full rand, and this is rocky rocky country, yet they hardly have a scuff on them.
    Also the lace system is slick and easy. As the boot is pretty stiff, you can leave the laces loose and still get good support or they're really easy to cinch down. The eyelets rotate which makes them less susceptible to breaking.
    I'll post more as I get more miles on them, but so far I really liking them.

    KENETREK HARDSCRABBLE HIKER-Kenetrek Boots
    Be sure and subscribe at the top of this post, at thread tools, if you want to follow this review


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    Last edited by robby denning; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:57 AM.

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  3. #2
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker review

    Back at the truck. It was about 1,000' climb/200' drop, then 300' back up going in, 3 rough miles round trip. Some rubbing on both heels but no hot spots when I went to bed. Up at first light and had to climb about 100 feet to get to where I could see the whole canyon, the heels hurt but after settling in for the morning no problem.

    Mostly downhill on the way out so the heels were non-issue. Turning to the toebox, it was steep downhill but no problems with jamming my toes, and I can tell these boots fit me really well with the wide.

    They are going to wear well with that full rand protecting the leather





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  5. #3
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    Love it Robby! Put them to good use! As far as the heel slippage goes, I'm working on a video with a lacing technique that can greatly reduce heel slippage. When I get that finished up, I'll post it on the forums for everyone to see, however in the mean time, I can sort of describe the technique...

    Basically, when the boots are un-laced, you start by skipping the first lacing hooks and skipping to the second, from there, you cross over again but instead of lacing up, you cross over and drop back down to the first...from there, you cross over again and skip the second, finishing at the top hooks...

    This helps hold your heel down. Hopefully it's not too confusing, but if it is, let me know and I'll try to clarify.

    -Wyatt

  6. #4
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Wyatt, thanks for chiming in. I'll give that lacing technique a shot. Be sure and let me know when that video is done. Feel free to post it on this thread too


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  7. #5
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Wyatt, while I have your ear, let's talk wax for these boots. Needed? How? When? Brand? I see other guys asking in various places on the forum about this


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  8. #6
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    Robby -

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Super important to wax your boots. It keeps the leather in great shape and will really extend the life of your boots - not just ours but all leather boots. There are a couple tricks and tips for treating them, so I'll do a longer write-up with some images that we can post to the blog/forum. Stay tuned.

    -Wyatt

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  10. #7
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenetrekboots View Post
    Robby -

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Super important to wax your boots. It keeps the leather in great shape and will really extend the life of your boots - not just ours but all leather boots. There are a couple tricks and tips for treating them, so I'll do a longer write-up with some images that we can post to the blog/forum. Stay tuned.

    -Wyatt
    We'd love to see that write-up!


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  11. #8
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    OK I've been off the mountain a full day and checking my feet this morning I didn't develop any blisters on that brutal hike. my heels are tender though. I think I it was about the right time to stop. Had I done much more I think I would've developed a blister.

    So if you buy these boots plan on a progressive break in period. That's common sense but these are not the kind of boot to just pull out of the box and go on a hunt. .


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  12. #9
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    Received my Hardscrabbles last week and immediately hit them with the Kennetreck boot wax- basically a beeswax based formula. Since then I have about 6 miles on the boots. My feet were very tender the first day. I was concerned about heel slippage based on other reports and the fact my heels were right on the edge of blistering. Took three days off and happy to report the boots feel great this morning. Will put a few miles on them today...

    My plan is to add a pack Saturday or Sunday and do some climbing and game camera checking... I think it is as much about toughing your own feet as it is breaking in the boots...

    Very pleased with the boots so far- I have always been a light hiker footwear guy. These are a whole new level of boot for me but feel far superior in overall support and comfort. These boots have really stabilized my feet...

  13. #10
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    1signguy

    thanks for chiming in on this. Feel free to post any of your experiences on this thread. Boots are such a personal piece of gear that the more we can share, the more we can help others. Our experiences seem to match so far. Let me know if you try that lacing method described above... I'm going to give it a shot.

  14. #11
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    Have another week on the boots and was able to put 10 miles on them with a pack last weekend and I can't believe I didn't buy a pair of boots like this years ago! I am such an idiot!!!

    Little back ground- I have always felt like a light hiker was more than sufficient because I just knew no better. Also, I figured I did not want a big heavy boot as it would just wear me out quicker. I have always been very healthy and active- never had leg issues... Boy was I wrong! The soles on these Kenetrek's are so much stronger and torsionally rigid that I no longer have any soreness in my feet. The more flexible soles on the light hikers were causing my feet to ache every night- especially with a pack on all day. That's gone! I think back and curse about all of the soreness I could have avoided over the years! Those light hikers simply allowed my foot to stretch and flex too much!

    Not sure if it was my feet getting use to the boots, the boots breaking in, or both- but my heels have zero issues. I think breaking the boots in the way I have has made this a fairly pain free and easy process.

    To break them in I simply wore the boots for normal day to day stuff (feed horses and clean stalls, go to work and sit at my desk, walk around the plant... take boots off at the first sign of any pain... Start over. This was after the first day of wearing them when my heels started to heat up and taking a few days off from wearing them...

    Did 10 miles with a pack over two days in the boots last weekend and they were great. Zero issues!

    Suggest anyone who has not tried a pair of high end boots do it today. You owe it to yourself! Really one of the best investments you can make... I would have paid 4 or 5 times what these boots cost if I had know they would make the sort of difference they do... The Kenetreks just plane work.

    Robby I did not try the new lacing method. However, my left foot is slightly smaller than my right and I may try it on that foot/left boot. No issues but I do have slight heel movement when compared to my right foot.

  15. #12
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Thanks 1signguy. I'm having a pretty similar experiences as you, although I haven't put 10 miles in one day on them. I have just increased my hours per day in them and they're broken in nicely now. I may get a hotspot if I really put the miles on in one day but I'm thinking a couple more trips they're going to be broke in and very well.

    You're right about how rigid they are that took some getting used to but they are a solid boot.

    Got the boot wax yesterday from Kenetrek, but haven't had a chance to sit down and get it applied, but I'll give you guys some feedback on that too. Here's the boots with about seven days use in them so far


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  16. #13
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    I have had a pair of these for about 2 years now. I was in the same boat, had to find a pair of wides for my feet. Had a few blister issues on my right heel til they got broken in, but have no problem now.

    Was able to mitigate the blister issue by taping my right heel. Fresh socks make a big difference as well.

    Wasn't to sure about them at first, but now that they are broken in, I love them.

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  18. #14
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rangerz View Post
    I have had a pair of these for about 2 years now. I was in the same boat, had to find a pair of wides for my feet. Had a few blister issues on my right heel til they got broken in, but have no problem now.

    Was able to mitigate the blister issue by taping my right heel. Fresh socks make a big difference as well.

    Wasn't to sure about them at first, but now that they are broken in, I love them.
    Good to hear


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  20. #15
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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  22. #16
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Got them waxed up. Although it wasn't necessary according to the directions, I let them warm up in the sun about 15 minutes before I put it on. The beeswax isn't as thick as the Snowseal, so it's easier to put on.


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  24. #17
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    I bought a pair of Hardscrabbles about 4 years ago for a season of treeplanting, which really takes wear and tear to the next level. You kick shovels, boot grass and turf away, ride quads, and climb through a lot of nasty terrain with some serious weight on your planting bags. They were a great investment. The only thing I have found is the rand peels away from the leather fairly early. I bought another pair of used Kenetreks as well and they were almost brand new, but the rand was slightly pulling away in spots. Either way, the hardscrabbles are my favourite hunting boot-extremely comfortable and durable. I still use them for hunting in the early season, scouting, hiking, rucking, etc. I should look at getting them rebuilt as the tread is also starting to wear down. I would send them back in a heartbeat for a rebuild, but I'm up in Alberta, so it's going to be quite a bit more costly to ship them down and then get them shipped back. Maybe I'll just drive them to the border and ship from there.

    Anyways, these boots are certainly a worthwhile investment. And they look sharp, to boot (pun intended).
    Matt

  25. #18
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Outdoormatt thanks man. Your review will probably be better than what I can put mine through in a year. I'll keep an eye on that rand. I did NOT know these were rebuildable.


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  26. #19
    Administrator robby denning's Avatar
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    Got some high country steep miles today. Glad these are wides. Heels seem to be broken in now, at least for the shorter hikes.


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